After thousands of years, scientists stated that they have finally discovered the origin of the megaliths in the Stonehenge monument that is around 5,000-year-old.
Fragments of the stone
On July 29, researchers announced that 50 of the 52 sandstone sarsens used in the monument were quarried 15 miles from Wiltshire. Researchers used Geochemical testing to trace the sarsens back to their origins as reported by the New York Post.
The sarsens were erected in 2500 B.C at Stonehenge. The tallest sarsens are 30 feet high and the heaviest sarsens weight around 30 tons. The smaller bluestones of Stonehenge have a different origin story.
The stones have been traced back to Pembrokeshire in Wales, which is around 150 miles away. However, the source of the sarsens has eluded scientists, until now.
David Nash, a geomorphologist from the University of Brighton who led the study said that the sarsen stones make up the iconic outer circle and central trilithon horseshoe at Stonehenge and that they are massive.
The researchers will now try to understand how the sarsens were moved from Wiltshire all the way to Stonehenge. It is also believed that they were pulled on a system that was like a sled.
Nash added that it is still not clear how the sarsens were moved from Wiltshire to Stonehenge. Given the massive size of the stones and their weight, it is possible that ancient people dragged the stones using rollers.
The exact tout that ancient people used is still unknown, all that was discovered was the starting point and the endpoint.
The discovery of Nash's team is all based on the analysis of a fragment from the sarsen stone. The fragment was removed from the Stonehenge in the 1950s while a conservation effort was done. The fragment was removed when conservators installed metal rods to help stabilize a megalith that had a crack.
The sarsen stone fragment was given to Robert Philips as a souvenir. Robert Philips worked for the company that did the stabilization effort. He moved to the United States after the project and he brought the fragment with him, he then returned the fragment to Britain in 2018 for research. Philips passed away in early 2020.
Authorities are now prohibiting any testing on the Stonehenge site that is deemed destructive. The fragment given to Philips was an important sample for researchers as it gives them the opportunity to shape the geochemical fingerprint.
Nash stated that he hopes that what his team found will give knowledge to the public and make it an opportunity to know more about the history of the construction of Stonehenge.
The Stonehenge was made by the late Neolithic people 5000 years ago and around 3000 BC. Different books about its history show different dates for the same event.
The emergence of agriculture in the British Isles from 4,000 BC changed the way of life for Neolithic people. This means that the two groups were able to have permanent settlements.
During the period of building Stonehenge, transitions happened to people. The Stone Age started, and up until the Bronze Age. People during that age were no longer isolated and has gone traveling and trading. The Stonehenge developed a reputation as a place where healing took place.